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Stand Up for the Social Pillar: Strong presence and interest for the first meeting of the alliance!

28 September 2018

On 26 September in Brussels, a conference was held on the role of the European Semester mechanism and the Multiannual Financial Framework as tools to boost social investments. The conference was attended by 120 representatives of EU Institutions, NGOs and several social partners.

The European Pillar of Social Rights contains a set of 20 principles and rights for the citizens of the European Union and was officially adopted in Gothenburg during the European Summit in November 2017.

In spite of the importance for this initiative to be implemented efficiently all over Europe, the Pillar remains largely unknown and the implementation witnesses resistance and uncertainty on financial level.

Stand up for the social pillar” is both what CECOP advocates for and the name of the Alliance we established to this end. Together with the alliance’s partners, the European Confederation of Trade Unions, Social Economy Europe, the Social Platform and European Movement International a conference was held on the role of the European Semester mechanism and the Multiannual Financial Framework as tools to boost social investments. The conference was attended by 120 representatives of EU Institutions, NGOs and several social partners.

Among several other distinguished speakers, our CECOP-CICOPA Europe President Giuseppe Guerini took the floor to “encourage the European institutions to implement the Social Pillar and to focus on the social dimension and the social cohesion of the EU especially now that the European Semester is being defined and the 2021-2027 budget negotiated”. Moreover, he insisted on the relevance of the cooperative enterprises and the social economy actors as best representatives of the “alternative European Union”, the one that build bridges and social connection rather than feeding fear and hateful sentiments.

On behalf of the European Confederation of Trade Unions (ETUC), the Secretary General Luca Visentini addressed the audience by focusing on the two-fold crisis the European Union is facing: the economic and the democratic one. Mr Visentini highlighted that the distrust towards the European institutions is particularly dangerous in times of generalised social distress. For this reason, he urged the European Institutions and the Member States not only to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights, but also to consider the social targets in the rules concerning the European Semester.

The event was hosted by MEPs Elena Gentile and Brando Benifei (Socialist&Democrats) with the participation of MEPs Maria-Joao Rodrigues (Socialist&Democrats), Veronica Lope Montagné (European People’s Party), Enrique Calvet Chambon (Liberals&Democrats) and representatives from DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion and DG Economic and Financial Affairs. This meeting was only the first step of a larger set of activities aimed at ensuring the correct and wide-spread implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.